Todd Phillips has a theory about franchises that reach No. 3. ”They all seem to get darker as they go on,” says the director. But when it comes to the final installment in the men-behaving-badly comedy trilogy, darker isn’t exactly the right word: ”It’s more like f—ed up.” The third Hangover breaks from the waking-up-from-a-blackout-night formula that some found redundant in the second installment. ”Part of us was like, ‘F— everyone — we have to do it again,”’ Phillips says. ”But we had this other story in mind that ties everything together.” That story finds Zach Galifianakis’ man-child, Alan, going off the rails following the death of his father, while he and his fellow Wolfpack-ers get mixed up with Ken Jeong’s gangster, Mr. Chow, and a new villain played by John Goodman.
Just how ”f—ed up” does this Hangover get? For starters, the film’s trailer shows a giraffe meeting a grisly fate due to a freeway overpass. ”I thought, ‘Can an audience get on board with that?”’ Ed Helms admits. ”Then my mom, who’s a dainty Southern woman, told me, ‘Maybe I’m twisted, [but] that was the funniest thing I ever saw!’ I’ll go on record as saying that decapitating giraffes is reprehensible — but pretending to decapitate a computer-generated giraffe in the right context is totally hilarious.”